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First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in the early 19th century. The islands' sugar industry was hurt by the emancipation of the slaves in 1834. Manpower was replaced with the importation of contract laborers from India between 1845 and 1917, which boosted sugar production as well as the cocoa industry. The discovery of oil on Trinidad in 1910 added another important export. Independence was attained in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing. The government is coping with a rise in violent crime.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Conventional short form Trinidad and Tobago

Government type
Parliamentary democracy

Capital
Name Port of Spain
Geographic coordinates 10 39 N, 61 31 W
Time difference
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
9 regions, 3 boroughs, 2 cities, 1 ward
Regions
Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Diego Martin, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Penal/Debe, Princes Town, Sangre Grande, San Juan/Laventille, Siparia, Tunapuna/Piarco
Borough Arima, Chaguanas, Point Fortin
Cities Port of Spain, San Fernando
Ward Tobago

Independence
31 August 1962 (from the UK)

Constitution
1 August 1976

Legal system
English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President George Maxwell RICHARDS (since 17 March 2003)
Head of government
Prime Minister Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR (since 26 May 2010)
Cabinet
Cabinet appointed from among the members of Parliament
Elections
President elected by an electoral college, which consists of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 February 2008 (next to be held by February 2013); the president usually appoints as prime minister the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives
Election results
George Maxwell RICHARDS reelected president; percent of electoral college vote - NA

Legislative branch
Bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (31 seats; 16 members appointed by the ruling party, 9 by the President, 6 by the opposition party to serve a maximum term of five years) and the House of Representatives (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections
House of Representatives - last held on 24 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
Election results
House of Representatives - percent of vote - NA; seats by party - UNC 21, PNM 12, COP 6, TOP 2
Note
Tobago has a unicameral House of Assembly with 12 members serving four-year terms; last election held in January 2005; seats by party - PNM 11, DAC 1

Judicial branch
Supreme Court of Judicature (comprised of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeals; the chief justice is appointed by the president after consultation with the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; other justices are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission); the highest court of appeal is the Privy Council in London; member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)

Political parties and leaders
Congress of the People or COP [Winston DOOKERAN]; Democratic Action Congress or DAC [Hochoy CHARLES] (only active in Tobago); Democratic National Alliance or DNA [Gerald YETMING] (coalition of NAR, DDPT, MND); Movement for National Development or MND [Garvin NICHOLAS]; National Alliance for Reconstruction or NAR [Dr. Carson CHARLES]; People's National Movement or PNM [Patrick MANNING]; Tobago Organization of the People or TOP [Ashworth JACK]; United National Congress or UNC [Kamla PERSAD-BISSESSAR]

Political pressure groups and leaders
Jamaat-al Muslimeen [Yasin ABU BAKR]

International organization participation
ACP, AOSIS, C, Caricom, CDB, CELAC, FAO, G-24, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Neil PARSAN
Chancery
1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone [1] (202) 467-6490
FAX [1] (202) 785-3130
Consulate(s) general Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Beatrice W. WELTERS
Embassy
15 Queen's Park West, Port of Spain
Mailing address P. O. Box 752, Port of Spain
Telephone
[1] (868) 622-6371 through 6376
FAX [1] (868) 822-5905

Flag description
Red with a white-edged black diagonal band from the upper hoist side to the lower fly side; the colors represent the elements of earth, water, and fire; black stands for the wealth of the land and the dedication of the people; white symbolizes the sea surrounding the islands, the purity of the country's aspirations, and equality; red symbolizes the warmth and energy of the sun, the vitality of the land, and the courage and friendliness of its people

National symbol(s)
Scarlet ibis (bird of Trinidad); cocrico (bird of Tobago)

National anthem
Name
"Forged From the Love of Liberty"
Lyrics/music Patrick Stanislaus CASTAGNE
Note
Adopted 1962; the song was originally created to serve as an anthem for the West Indies Federation; it was adopted by Trinidad and Tobago following the Federation's dissolution in 1962


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  Trinidad And Tobago (Port-of-spain):


  GPS points from Trinidad And Tobago (Port-of-spain)

Princess Town Princes Town

Cupan Ravine Saint Andrew

Cuesa River Saint George

Cimetiere River Saint Patrick

Trois Roches Saint David


Blackwater Channel Saint Patrick





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